Accepted Paper:

Disrupting normalised forms of inequality: towards a cosmopolitics of care  


Clare Shelley-Egan (Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences)
Jim Dratwa (European Commission and Woodrow Wilson Center)

Paper Short Abstract:

This paper centres on the way in which the Ebola and Zika crises have disrupted normalised forms of inequality and selective caring. It builds on key STS questions such as – “where are the others?” and proposes building blocks for a cosmopolitics of care.

Paper long abstract:

In the course of jointly developing a reflexive paper on the 'Ebola crises', the emergence of a very different issue -the Zika virus outbreak- challenged us to go further. We wanted to investigate and explore the myriad issues and tensions that have arisen as a result of the crises not only from a public health perspective but also from the "us versus them" framing that has characterised the response of the developed world to these crises. Scrutinising the policy responses to these 'foreseeable but unforeseen' matters of concern, together with the attempts to distribute relevance and agency among diverse populations and institutions, the paper proceeds through a series of reframing moves. First, building on two key STS reframing questions, "where are the others?" and "what kind of world do we want to live in together?", the paper is structured by these two ethical cosmopolitical horizons of transformation. The paper counterpoints an analysis of participatory healthcare (and its attendant dialectics of new forms of empowerment, citizenship and subjection) with an inquiry into the way in which the Ebola and Zika crises disrupt normalised forms of inequality and selective caring. It further questions the norming, normative and normalising roles of ethical expertise in these settings - alongside the subversive potentialities it holds.

Panel T074
Cosmopolitical Research and STS